Monday, July 25, 2016

For Normal Ava

Luz ♥
Hello All!

LUZ AND EVANGELICA CAME TO CHURCH!  And it was amazing! Fabricio wasn't there to teach 2nd hour for them, so we were just going to stay in Sunday School with everyone else. However, Irmao Antonio and Bispo pulled us out and saved the day! Irmao Antonio taught the most inspired lesson on the spot and it was perfect, how did he know so well what they both needed to hear? The spirit was so powerful. Luz said that day will be one of her most precious memories.
All my favorite people somehow showed up in one house!

I've been learning a lot about perfection and consecration this week. I read this talk by Tad R. Callister called "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary." Perfectionism has such a negative connotation in our culture, but isn't that the purpose of our existence?

Ava's free haircut
I am so spoiled as a missionary because I get to learn and grow in ways that would have otherwise taken years for normal Ava. There are a LOT of growing pains, but it is so worth it. God is pleased when we are moving in the right direction. He is a God of high expectations, but also perfectly patient and loving. I love that the truth just happens to be so beautiful!

I hope you can read the talk linked above because it can also be called "Becoming a Perfect Person" or "How to Put it All On the Altar."

Oh by the way -- I love Sister Gines. A lot.
Eu amo voces!
Sister Loodge
My comp is beautiful. We got lost and had to take the highway

I found a puppy that doesn't want to bite my head off

Monday, July 18, 2016

A bit of a roller coaster

They call cartwheels "estrelas" (stars) here. Isn't Brazil beautiful?
Hellooooooo Family!

Night runs and New York pizza
Luz is doing AMAZING. I meant to mark some verses in Alma 32 for her, but I marked them in Alma 31, and they basically said "we thank thee God that we are better than our brethren," but she read it anyway! And said she learned! Some other missionary has got to have made that mistake before though, right? But Luz is so wonderful.

Something I struggle with here is that I feel like no one actually knows who Sister Ludlam is besides my companion, but Luz has taken a liking for me and loves to ask me questions. She helped me learn how to be myself even in Portuguese :) I think we are going to be friends for the rest of our lives. We are such kindred spirits. :) We don't have a date for her because she works on Sunday, but we know Heavenly Father will work something out for her. I love her!!
The Zone
We are reaping the rewards of our Chamado Ao Servir (Called to Serve)activity!! A family in the ward introduced us to their friend, "Evangelica."  During the first lesson, she accepted to be baptized August 7th and has been progressing so beautifully. We are going to go shopping with her today :)

I got the cute clothes for Camila's mom! It just got really cold again, and I got them just in time! Honestly, this is just an example of Brasilian culture for you. You say you're cold in your email to your mom in Jersey, then a ward member reads it and asks her mom to drop off clothes for me at the mission office. My district leader asked me who gave it to me, and I had to admit I didn't know! But I sure love her!  A huge Thank You to Camila's mama!

This mission sure isn't easy. It's a bit of a roller coaster, but I am so happy. How could I not be when I am declaring such a joyous message? Christ lives! His church has been restored in its fullness here on earth in the last days!
Love to all,
Sister Lewdlamb
Silvia's birthday

Winter tan lines

Monday, July 11, 2016

Missionary work is not easy because...

Last week was a difficult one. We were both feeling a bit discouraged. But we fasted, received divine guidance, and had one of the best weeks ever.

While planning for our Called to Serve event, Fabricio, our ward mission leader, showed us this video to the left. Don't worry, it is in English. ◄

Was that what we needed or what?

Called to Serve was a success, but I didn't have the chance to take pictures of everyone in their name tags because I was distracted by something very special that happened. We played the video at the very end, and someone I didn't know came down and sat next to me part way through. The video invited such a powerful spirit, and when it finished everyone was in tears, including the person next to me.

We then realized that we actually DID know her, "Luz," a contact from a week ago where we planned to meet her at the chapel on Sunday at 7:30. We both just looked at her in unbelief, that she actually CAME. She ate cookies with us and met some members, asking tons of questions. It was quite a confusing scene for her I'm sure, everyone walking around with little name tags. We took her into a side classroom with Irma Rebecca, taught the Restoration, and she immediately agreed to be baptized. Sister Gines and I both just kept looking at each other wondering "is this actually happening?"

It was a wonderful week, and now we begin the last transfer for Sister Gines! I love being a missionary and I love my Savior! Have a great week!

Sister Ludlam
The only place my hammock will fit.

For Goldie's birthday

Festa Julina

Monday, July 4, 2016

I Know...with a video

This is us and our LMA (ward leader) working on Called to Serve

I had a very beautiful and slightly painful experience on Saturday night. We FINALLY, after 2 weeks of trying, found "Silvia". The plan was to walk in, explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ, invite her to be baptized again, and then talk about how to help her and her esposo get married. It didn't go as planned. I have never felt confounded or so lost and frustrated in a lesson, I just wanted to cry.

They said "we know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and Joseph Smith was a prophet, but we are Catholic and we are going to die Catholic. We are so proud of you for preaching of Jesus Christ and bringing people to Him, but all things good lead to Him."

I guess Sister Gines had heard that one too many times in the last 16 months, and after a really hard fruitless transfer, she bore the most powerful testimony that changed my life forever. It has been the most powerful experience I have had on my mission so far. She was so bold and told them EXACTLY what Christ would have said had He been standing before them. She become so overcome with emotion she couldn't speak, and of course I was crying too. "Silvia" said "Oh love, don't cry! I didn't mean to make you sad!" But she had no idea what was happening inside of my companion.

It was so beautiful. I literally felt weak, but like I was being held in His arms. It was warm and strong, and I will never forget it. We walked home silently, just crying. I was crying because:
1. I just needed to get it out after weeks of nothing
2. The heartbreak of losing Silvia
3. The joy of having such a celestial experience, and having felt Him so clearly through the veil, and,
4. Some shame from having let my Savior down lately.
But we aren't giving up on her.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that the only way to salvation is through His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The path is straight and narrow, and few are they that find it. His church is the only way that we find true joy in this life, and return to our Father in the next. I may speak boldly because it is true, and because I have been called by a prophet of God to be a representative of Jesus Christ.

I invite all to drink deeply from the words of His prophets who testify of Him, just like I do. My soul delights in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the words of our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and his apostles. I promise that as you accept and delight in the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, your life will change forever.

I love you all!
Sister Ludlam
Plus...a bonus video of Ava singing her mama "Happy Birthday!"